Recently, the BAC’s Executive Director, Mrs Lisa Gale, reached out to the respective Quality Assurance bodies in islands throughout the region and abroad, to strengthen ties with our regional neighbours. Like the BAC, these agencies across the Caribbean are also responsible for Quality Assurance and Enhancement in post-secondary/tertiary education and training providers in each of their jurisdictions. Mrs Gale cited:
“Further collaboration, cooperation and partnership with other Caribbean External Quality Assurance agencies is a step in the right direction for the future of Higher Education in the region.”
Working together with other Caribbean agencies is not new for the BAC. It has had a long history of collaboration with these organisations, which spans its near 17-year history. For example, during the establishment of the Council in 2004, the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) lent a helping hand in aiding as a template for shaping regional quality standards, having been founded many years earlier, in 1987. Other collaborative efforts and assistance came from the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT) as well as other entities which played a role in the development of the BAC today.
Over the years, the Council has also been called on by several other agencies to share on standards development, among other things. It is at this juncture in 2021 that Mrs Lisa Gale, Executive Director, whose tenure at the BAC commenced in 2020, vows to further these relationships with even greater communication and strategic alignment.
Courtesy calls and discussions recently took place between Mrs Gale and the Executive Director of the University Council of Jamaica, the Acting Director of the Accreditation Council of Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia’s Council for TVET and their Ministry of Education, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines National Accreditation Board among others.
Mrs Gale elaborated on the fruitful discussion with Acting Director of the ACTT Mr Floyd, which included potential collaborative efforts between the organisations in the form of staff exchanges, research and Quality Assurance training among other partnerships. Discussions were also held with various agencies on their experience in setting up their National Qualifications Framework. This is in light of plans to finalise the pilot of the Barbados Qualifications and Credit Framework before rollout. Despite the hiatus in recent years, much work has gone on in 2020 and 2021.
Mrs Gale signalled her commitment to continuing the conversation and has indicated that she is optimistic about the future of higher education and training in the region. She added that there is a critical role played by quality assurance in guaranteeing confidence and quality to students, institutions, governments and other stakeholders. She has also committed to aligning the Council’s operations with good practice principles for external quality assurance.